11 Easy Ways to Avoid Food Poisoning While Traveling (No More Stomachache!)

One of the most dreadful things that could happen while traveling is getting food poisoning. You might want to experience all the unique local street food of the places you travel to. Food poisoning can ultimately ruin your sense of adventure or even the whole vacation. Finding yourself nursing a stomachache while your travel buddies go out to enjoy Chef Kanida Chey and other cuisines isn’t fun. That’s why I have put up some small tips to avoid food poisoning while traveling!

Avoid Food Poisoning While Traveling

How to Avoid Food Poisoning While Traveling

Wash your hands!

It never hurts to cover the absolute basics. Most people get sick because they forget to follow simple hygiene processes. It might not even have anything to do with the fact that you’re traveling. Maybe some local cuisine forced you to eat with your bare hands, and you forgot to wash them. Our hands carry a lot of germs and dirt throughout the day. It’s the main point of connection when greeting other people, touching new surfaces, holding door handles and so many other germs-infested things. So keep reminding yourself to wash your hands right before you eat anything.

Drink safe water

Local tap water might not be safe to drink. Drinking unsafe water can cause major food poisoning, leaving you writhing in pain during your vacation. The locals might also sell bottled water that is just tap water filled in reused bottled. Be very wary when buying your water. Check to make sure the seals at the top aren’t broken. If you want to drink tap water, make sure you boil it first before consuming it. Even when brushing your teeth, avoid using tap water and use filtered bottled water. Germs might take that chance of you gurgling to get into your system and cause damage. You could always carry around water purification tablets, just to be extra sure of the water by treating it.

Buy Only Sealed Bottled Water

If you buy water, bring your own non-portable filter or drink bottled water. Non-filtered water can be problematic for tourists, especially if the country you’re visiting doesn’t have the same sanitation standards as your home country.

Before you take a sip, inspect the top. Is the seal broken? If so, don’t drink it. If you’re just not sure about the water in the country where you’ll be, buy a non-potable water filter to take with you before you leave your home country.

Avoid food left sitting out in the open

Buffets and vendor food are the biggest culprits of this. Food that’s left out sitting in the open has a greater risk of contamination. You might want to get food from the street vendors to increase your sense of living locally, but you have to check on how it’s kept. To avoid contaminated food, try finding the food while traveling in the same place most of the locals are. They will know what food is safe and of good quality since they are locals. Buffets that are just warmed up while left in the open are also a red flag. That’s one of the conducive environments for bacteria to the harbor, so it’s best to avoid them. Try the foods that are steaming hot and well cooked and freshly made. Even when ordering hot drinks, avoid the warm ones and request that you be served when they’re steaming.

Go for the fruits you can peel

Fruits and vegetables can carry a whole load of germs. Right from the farms with the manure, they’re exposed, to the different hands they come across before they reach you. Your safest bet is to pick those fruits that you can peel away their skin, which is the biggest carrier of dirt and germs. Fruits like bananas and oranges peel to uncontaminated insides that are potentially safe to eat. You also have the option of washing the fruits and vegetables that can’t be peeled. Just be sure to do a thorough job to avoid contamination.

Parting shot

Food comes into a lot of hands and different exposures before it gets to you. You can’t control all these variables right from the farm to the kitchen. What you can do is make sure the variables you can control like how it’s stored or served are at peak performance. Avoiding raw foods such as sea food and undercooked meat reduces your risk of getting ill. So be aware of what and how things are served, and you’ll be less likely to get food poisoning.

Avoid Dairy

Dairy is a major cause of food poisoning, so avoid it from the street vendors. It’s difficult to sue people in a foreign country, so even if you do get sick, you may or may not be able to file a claim with the local authorities. Your best bet is to avoid, avoid, avoid.

In countries where the milk is fresh, don’t drink it. It’s impossible to verify that it’s been handled well, and it can be a source of some really nasty – even life-threatening – bacteria. Even when you know the milk is pasteurized, it can go bad quickly.

Put Ice In Drinks, But Only If It’s Filtered

Ice can be another source of food poisoning. Weird, right? Like water, if the ice was not made from filtered water, then you have no idea what’s lurking inside. Avoid or verify that the water is from filters.

Avoid Bleached Coconuts

Bleached coconuts are popular in touristy spots:

1) are hard to crack open and;
2) fresh coconuts that have been stripped of the outer shell look more appealing but don’t last long.

So, some street vendors bleach the coconut with a solution – a solution that might make you very sick. If the coconuts look too white, they’ve probably been treated. If you’re unsure of the coconut status, skip it. It’s not worth three days of torture.

Fresh Salads

Fresh salads seem like a good idea, and they can be, but they can also make you very sick. Fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers from street vendors should be strictly avoided because they probably used tap water to clean the salad. This problem is compounded by the fact that you don’t know how good a job they did cleaning the salad in the first place.

Eat Vegetarian Foods

This one sounds counterintuitive if you’re a meat-eater, but many countries either have food laws or the locals have religious beliefs that keep them from eating much (if any) meat. This means that meat is kept on carts for tourists. It also means that the meat may have been sitting around for a bit too long.


Most people say they wouldn’t grab a bite from a street cart. But, most of us have done so when we’re starving and pressed for time. So, I gathered for you some safety tips and things you need to know avoid food poisoning while traveling.  Those are my favorite and personal tips to stay safe and how to avoid getting sick when you travel.

Last Updated on April 5, 2022

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